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Progressive Hollywood [Paperback]

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Item description for Progressive Hollywood by Ed Rampell...

Based on Ed Rampell's firsthand coverage of recent marches, demonstrations, rallies, fundraisers, political education meetings, art exhibits and organizing efforts, this book asks: What really motivates the Hollywood Left? How are Hollywood progressives politically educated? How do they organize protests and raise money for causes? Who are the masterminds and top financial backers of Hollywood's activism? What price are these outspoken notables paying for speaking out? Are they working out of a great tradition, and what do they have to learn from the great activists of Hollywood's earlier progressive periods-the '30s, '40s, '60s and '70s? What are the lessons from the dark ages of the '50s, and are we seeing a new McCarthy-like backlash during the Bush presidency to silence high-profile dissent? And, from action hero California recall candidates to producers of pro-Pentagon pictures, who in reactionary Tinseltown collaborates with the status quo, and how are the progressives countering the entertainment industry's right wing?

With an introduction by Greg Palast, author of bestseller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Progressive Hollywood features Rampell's interviews and interactions with Hollywood luminaries such as producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Robert Greenwald; actors Jack Nicholson, Rob Reiner, Mike Farrell, Ed Asner, Martin Sheen, David Clennon, Gore Vidal and Dennis Hopper; directors Michael Moore, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone and Lionel Chetwynd; blacklisted screenwriters Bernie Gordon (who initiated the 1999 protests against Elia Kazan's lifetime achievement Oscar), Bobby Lees (who injected dialectical materialism into Abbott and Costello comedies) and Norma Barzman (author of 2003's The Red and the Blacklist).

Ed Rampell is a full-time writer who has co-authored four books, including two film histories. His journalism has appeared in publications worldwide, including ABC News' 20/20, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio New Zealand, Newsweek, AP, Reuters, Honolulu Weekly, Mother Jones, In These Times, L.A. Times, Boston Globe, Toronto Globe & Mail, Variety and many others.<

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Item Specifications...

Pages   288351
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2005
Publisher   The Disinformation Company
ISBN  1932857109  
ISBN13  9781932857108  

Availability  0 units.

More About Ed Rampell

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ed Rampell is a full-time writer who has co-authored four books, including two film histories. His journalism has appeared in publications worldwide, including ABC News' "20/20", The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio New Zealand, "Newsweek", AP, Reuters, "Honolulu Weekly, Mother Jones, In These Times, L.A. Times, Boston Globe, Toronto Globe & Mail, Variety" and many others.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Communications > Film Studies
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Movies > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Popular Culture
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Progressive Hollywood?

The struggle to express progressive social ideals  Nov 25, 2005
"Progressive Hollywood" by Ed Rampell is an excellent discourse about how Hollywood's creative community has often struggled to express progressive ideals through its art and unique brand of political activism for over a century. Mr. Rampell combines an encyclopedic knowledge of film with a solid understanding of American social and political history to create an interesting and informative narrative. The author helps us understand how the resurgence of progressive filmmaking today continues a Hollywood tradition of producing some of its best screen moments when America has undergone periods of substantial social change.

For example, Mr. Rampell makes a convincing argument that the audiences of the 1930s and 1940s were far better off for the presence of the Communist Party USA members who were employed by Hollywood studios during a trying time of economic depression and war. These so-called Crimson Era filmakers shone a light on the dangers of domestic and foreign Fascism when few others were willing to do so; some celebrated the common person's struggle with capital and state power; and others subtly suffused their humanist politics within their hopeful story narratives. Interestingly, the author discusses how Leftist influence reached its apogee in Hollywood during World War II, when eager American Communist filmmakers produced some of the most effective propaganda movies ever made on behalf of the U.S. government. Unfortunately, capital's postwar desire to break the power of unionized labor led to McCarthyism and the blacklist, which succeeded in scattering the creative community and effectively ended Hollywood's first great progressive movie era.

The next wave of progressive filmaking was inspired by the social and cultural conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s. Mr. Rampell discusses some of the important movies from the countercultural, Black Consciousness, environmental, feminist, anti-war and other film movements of the era. Marlon Brando's 1973 Academy Awards protest on behalf of Native American rights may have been the most memorable single event in a time when artists and filmmakers regularly challenged the status quo with their activism and work both on and offscreen.

Mr. Rampell contends that progressive Hollywood has returned after its long drought through the 1980s and 1990s in response to the ascendancy of the George W. Bush administration, the Iraq War and a wave of corporate crime scandals. The Internet has enabled filmmakers to communicate directly with niche and activist audiences who are hungry for socially conscious content, and the success of independently-produced documentaries has proven that a significant demand exists for subject matter on topics that have been ignored or underreported by the mainstream news media. The author is hopeful that today's progressive films will succeed in inspiring the public to challenge the Republican-dominated government's imperialistic misadventures and un-democratic policies of favortism for the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor.

Mr. Rampell discusses how outspoken artists have frequently suffered for exercising their First Amendment freedoms. A modern-day form of the blacklist has been resurrected by Conservatives who have targeted performers such as the Dixie Chicks, Howard Stern, Phil Donahue and many others. But the author takes us behind the scenes of the activist Hollywood community to show us how celebrities continue to champion progressive causes even at the risk of significant financial retribution, theorizing that the creative process cultivates a sense of empathy and compassion within artists for those who may be less fortunate than themselves.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that the cover is a highly imaginative work of art that might alone be worth the price of the book. The image is a detailed and colorful collage of famous people from the political Left and Right whose lives or works are discussed in the book. It's a fun concept and is brilliantly rendered by illustrator Brian Paisley.

I highly recommend this entertaining and informative book to everyone.

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